“I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me. Father, I desire that they also, whom you have given me, maybe with me where I am, to see my glory that you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world.”
This is Jesus’ prayer for the Church as He prepares to go to the cross. And, man, just reading these verses, just too heavy on my heart. I just want to read them. I want us to hear Jesus praying for us as the Church, and then I’m just going to go right into praying precisely according to what He prayed.
We pray that the church will be united as one just as the Father, the Son, and the Spirit are one.
Father, I desire that they also, whom You have given me, may you be with Me where I am to see My glory that You have given Me because You loved Me before the foundation of the world.” So, God, we pray together right now in each of our churches and in all of our churches collectively as Your church, that You would make us one in the same way, Father, that You and the Son are one. What an awesome picture that we would experience in the body of Christ, a oneness that is comparable to the oneness and the Trinity. God, we ask for that. Please give us that. Please guard us from division. God, please guard us from disunity, from not living in the one that You have created for us. So that the world might believe that You sent the Son to die on the cross for our sins. God, we pray for that, that the world might believe. Reading this, hearing Jesus pray this, to think that the world might not believe if the world does not see this kind of oneness in the Church, God.
We pray for this oneness in the church for our own good, and we pray this for the salvation of so many people beyond the Church in the world. God, we pray that we would be one together in the same way that You and the Son are one so that the world may know that You sent the Son and loved them even as You love the Son. And God as we pray all this, we desire that we would be with Him where He is. That we would see His glory, the glory you have given Him. We long for heaven first and foremost, because we will see You, we will be with You. And flowing from that, everything will be perfect, including our relationships with one another in the Church as Your people. No conflict, no strife, no hurt, no pain, just one as the Father, and the Son, and the Spirit are one. God, we long for that day, and we pray. We pray that you would help us to live in it today.
We live in such a divisive culture where we are so prone to accuse, and to disparage, and to cancel one another, to turn against one another instead of being for one another. God, help us we pray to experience what Jesus prayed for us 2,000 years ago, and how He intercedes for us even now. May John 17:20-24 be an ever increasing reality in each of our churches and us together as the Church. We pray this in Jesus’ name for Jesus’ glory. Amen.